by Stephen Mifsud
   27 Jan 2023      ()
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Lactuca sativa   (Lettuce)

Lactuca sativa  (ASTERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date May-2008 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Lactuca sativa - datasheet created on May-2008. Retrieved from on 27-Jan-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Lactuca sativaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 795 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Lactuca capitata DC.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl (=Compositae) (The Daisy or Sunflower Family)
123 species from the Asteraceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Lettuce, Garden Lettuce

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Cultivated species. Introduced plants cultivated for agricultural or horticultural purposes but sometimes can be occassionaly found as an escapee close to the site of their original cultivation.

Frequency :

Data not available - casual or short-lived in the wild from accidental garden or agriculture escape

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

May – August

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Lactuca: Latin for milk, referring to the milky sap present in all parts of all plant forming this genus. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Cultivated crop which does not seem to escape in the wild although seldom found in field margin from previous cultivations
Botanical Description: Glabrous annual or biennial, with a slender tap-root, dense basal rosette and erect flowering stems 30-70(-100) cm. Basal leaves undivided or runcinate-pinnatifid, shortly petiolate; cauline simple, ovate to orbicular, cordate-amplexicaul, sessile, not held vertically. Inflorescence a dense, corymbose panicle. Involucre erect in fruit Capitula numerous, with 7-15(-35) florets. Ligules pale yellow, often violet-streaked. Achenes 6-8 mm; body obovate, often finely muricate at apex, 5- to 9-ribbed, greyish; beak as long as body.
Chromosome number: 2n=18
Distributional range: Cultivated as a vegetable almost throughout Europe frequent as a casual, but seldom naturalized.
Native region outside Europe: Egypt?

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
?Az [cAb cAl cAu(A) aAu(L) aBe(B) cBH cBl(M) cBr aBu By Ca(F G L P T) cCg aCo aCr aCs cCt cCy Eg aEs aFe Ga(F) aGe Gg cGr aHb(E) He cHo aHs(S) cHu aIt aLa cLe cLi aLt aLu cMa cMd(M) cMk Mo cPo Rf(C CS E N NW S) cRm aSa cSi(M) aSi(S) cSk Sl cSr cSu Sy cTu(E) Uk(K U)]

Links & Further literature (1 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Revision of the Lactuca species (Asteraceae) occurring in the Maltese Islands Mifsud, S. & Mifsud, O.  (2020)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (5 images)
   Lactuca sativa   -   Image Code: LCTSV-0.
   Lactuca sativa   -   Image Code: LCTSV-1.
   Lactuca sativa   -   Image Code: LCTSV-2.
   Lactuca sativa   -   Image Code: LCTSV-3.
   Lactuca sativa   -   Image Code: LCTSV-4.

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